The Hitchhiking Movie

The Hitchhiking MovieThe Hitchhiking Movie is light documentary about two friends deciding to test the theory that kindness is dead in America.  Ryan Jeanes play the hos (and receives a mystifying writer credit), and Phillip Hullquist plays cameraman/director.  The two are from Chicago, and decide to see whether or not they could hitchhike from New York City to Los Angeles in seven days without spending a dime of their own money on food or transportation.  To add a sense of urgency, and a little structure, they purchase their return airline tickets in advance, to give them a deadline.

The film begins with quick interviews with people around New York, asking strangers what they thought of such a trip.  Would they ever date a hitchhiker, or someone who begs food off people.  Almost unanimously, the reply was that the idea was stupid and dangerous, with only a few positive responses, vague things about life being an adventure.

The two make their way across the country, receiving rides from twenty three different people.  Almost all of them being fantastically interesting people, because, well, who picks up hitchhikers besides ‘free spirits.’  In the way that Borat made Americans look dumb and ignorant, The Hitchhiking Movie made Americans look ignorant but kind.

The idea behind this documentary seems a little tedious.  Can the art of hitchhiking even really be observed when a camera man is following close behind the guy with their thumbs out?  Of course people aren’t going to be dicks if they get to be in a movie, right?  The rules that were clearly defined before the journey began were broken, and Ryan attempted to use semantics to show how, really, the rules were kept.  Despite these things, I was really impressed at how entertaining the film was.  Before I knew it, the journey had ended, although I won’t tell you whether or not they reached their destination in time.  The low budget was not a factor, and you’ll feel like you’re just on a road trip with some pleasant buddies.

★★½☆

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